2 minute read

There was something oddly charming about the geeks who made up the first wave of Internet entrepreneurs. Social misfits pounding out code in their computer-science labs–these people deserved professional success. But after the Wright Brothers, you get Frank Lorenzo. And so this summer Silicon Valley was flooded by the Second Wave: fast-talking business-school grads whose interest in technology is limited to how it will make them money. This is Silicon Valley in the IPO age. Geeks are history; they’re all capitalists now. Netscape founder Marc Andreesen stars in a Miller Lite ad.

For every screenplay in L.A., there’s a business plan in Silicon Valley. All it takes to launch the next Internet giant is a neat idea, a few connections and a lot of luck. Palo Alto even has its own Spago, where venture capitalists have become the Harvey Weinsteins and the pitches sound like “It’s FogDog meets AskJeeves.” Entrepreneurs even have their own snooty publicists. The agents will arrive shortly.

It’s not all about the money. If you’re an eager 28-year-old business-school graduate and you believe the Internet is going to be bigger than the Industrial Revolution, why not try to become Henry Ford? If you’re an entrepreneur, why waste your time in the old world, worrying about manufacturing things and dealing with unions and OSHA inspections, when you can put your company online in three months? Why have a boss when you and three buddies can build your own publicly traded company in two years? Windows this big don’t open very often. That’s the reason people are flocking to the Valley, from Wall Street and Moscow and Bombay.

But mostly, it’s the money.

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